Not donating to Komen

Missy Stein stated that the reason fund-raising was down this year for the Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure was because of the "Planned Parenthood debacle" ("Apologizing for Komen's errors," Friday). She is only partly correct. The reason that I and many of my friends have not donated to Komen this year is because of its support of Planned Parenthood. We wanted to show our opposition to how this was handled by the Komen organization. Our donations will go to other women's cancer charities that do not support the Planned Parenthood agenda.

Rosemary Mancinelli, Avalon

So it's all Masch's fault?

So it's Michael Masch who's responsible for all the woes of the Philadelphia School District ("Harsh words for former school official", Saturday)? Let's not blame the district overseers who had the great wisdom to extend Arlene Ackerman's contract and then fired her just months later. Let's forget about the $900,000 the city spent on the Ackerman buyout and instead parse Masch's salary as though that's a key issue. Where I work, the chief financial officer is responsible to the chief executive officer, who makes the decisions.

Somehow, when he had competent leadership to work with, Masch was an extraordinary public servant at both the city and state level for many years. But, apparently, that doesn't apply in Philadelphia these days. Now it's time to shoot the messenger, especially since Masch is bound and gagged by a contract that forbids him from defending himself.

Let's not be distracted by that game. Our school children deserve better.

William Kavesh, Philadelphia

Hold public employees accountable

It's encouraging to hear the city controller calling out Michael Masch for his poor performance. Of course, the mess of the School District of Philadelphia is not all Masch's fault. However, he was in a prominent position and was being paid handsome compensation to perform his job, and he obviously failed.

It is also interesting to learn that Masch cannot find a job in the private sector with the type of pay he was receiving in the public sector. Although Masch was in the upper ranges of compensation, in a high-level administration position, it would appear that the average public-sector worker is now making more money than the average person in the private sector, especially when their generous benefits and pensions are taken into account.

If public-sector workers insist that taxpayers continue to pay the majority of their extravagant benefits and pensions, they certainly should be held as accountable as people in the private sector and dismissed when they do not perform.

Michael Knodl, Mount Laurel

Jury duty worth time, effort

When I received notice for jury duty, many people asked, "Are you going to get out of it?" Get out of it? As an American citizen, it is my duty, obligation, responsibility, and honor to participate.

Go into any cemetery and take a look at the grave markers of veterans. The graves of my ancestors go back to the Revolutionary War. Those people fought for the many freedoms I enjoy today. I have not been called to serve my country in wartime — but was asked to answer a much easier call, to give another individual the right to a fair trial.

Time spent in the jury box was interesting and a great learning experience. The deliberation process was not easy, but it was worthwhile. Would I do it again? Yes!

Margaret Milano, Mays Landing

On Parkway, a place for the people

Imagine my embarrassment after driving around the new building in the museum area of Philadelphia, looking for the drive-in window to place my order ("Best home for Barnes' art," Monday). I thought for sure that since this new White Castle was so large, it would have many windows to please the tourists and keep the long lines moving. I'm embarrassed to admit that I had to ask a passerby for directions, and was told quite curtly that I was mistaken, that this was a new building to be enjoyed by the masses. OK, I thought, they are using the White Castle to feed the homeless. Fair enough. If you are going to break a man's will, let it benefit the people, and those little hamburgers are just delicious. Wrong again. I ended up at the Franklin Institute to see which way the pendulum really swings.

Frederick Baldt, Moorestown

Rights of tenants vs. landlords

I'm not a tenant, but a small-holdings landlord in University City, and I agree: "Direct debit" is a terrible idea ("Letting others move in on tenant bank accounts," Sunday). Not only are the unintended consequences for the tenants potentially disastrous, but the process seems to trample on their rights as well.

Wage garnishment and attachments are one thing because they afford the protections of due process. But direct debit is entirely different. The occasional losses due to nonpaying tenants are part of the risks and costs inherent in the business.

On the other hand, I could also raise questions as to whether the "rights" pendulum, which once gave too much authority to landlords in instances of nonpayment, hasn't swung too far the other way and enables unscrupulous tenants to "game the system" and continue occupying dwellings for which they have no intention of paying. But that's another issue.

Alan Krigman, Philadelphia, Krfapt@aol.com

Union jobs on taxpayers' dime

The editorial pointing out unionized government workers in New Jersey are doing union work on the government's dime is spot-on ("Union job is nice work, especially the pay," Sunday). This practice saves the unions money — money that they then donate to politicians. The vast majority of those donations go to one political party. I am sure your readers would love to see the statistics on what parties and politicians receive union donations.

Richard Holstein, West Chester

A different Mother's Day salute

On Saturday night I had the pleasure of attending the Philadelphia Orchestra's thrilling concert performance of Richard Strauss's opera Elektra at Verizon Hall, in which a high-strung daughter plots grisly revenge on her debased and adulterous mother for the murder of her father. I'd like to take this opportunity to publicly thank the musicians and the staff of the orchestra for giving us such an electrically matricidal antidote to the usual syrupy sweetness of Mother's Day weekend.

Alec Rubin, Wilmington

One side prevents compromise

This is another exercise in false equivalency ("Why Congress can't compromise," Sunday). Only one of our major political parties has almost unanimously signed a pledge promising not to raise taxes under any circumstances, even declaring that the closing of tax loopholes is a tax increase. That is the underlying reason why there is no compromising. Stop ignoring it.

Ron Zigler, Abington, rlz2@psu.edu